TULSA — The answer to the question posed in the headline is, “Of course they will.” It’s a silly question intended to grab the reader seeing the headline. For that, I hope you will forgive me.
I’m still on my way back to Chicago from Arizona, I’m overnighting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and managed to listen to much of the game in the car and then saw the last two innings via MLB.tv.
I can’t even show you the Cubs’ entire offense from their 1-0 loss to the Reds, because the list of videos for this game on MLB.com doesn’t show Javier Baez’s second-inning triple with two out, nor Ian Happ’s single in the eighth.
Two hits. Five walks, including getting the bases loaded on walks to Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant sandwiched around Happ’s single. Anthony Rizzo struck out to end that eighth-inning rally.
The key to this game were the six walks issued by Tyler Chatwood, who otherwise posted a pretty good outing in his Cubs debut. Cubs starters have now thrown 25⅔ innings in five games, and walked 18. That’s a walk rate for the Cubs rotation of 6.3 per nine innings, which is horrific, there’s no sugarcoating this one.
The Reds’ fourth-inning run scored without benefit of a walk, though. Eugenio Suarez tripled and scored on an infield out. Still, the walks and long counts run up by Cubs starting pitchers are putting pressure on the bullpen, never mind that Chatwood did manage to complete six innings. The 28 walks issued by the staff (including relievers) is the most by any major-league pitching staff. By a lot. (Next most, at this writing: The Pirates, with 20.)
We know these Cubs pitchers are better than this. It just hasn’t shown up yet. I am confident it will. And Justin Wilson again had a good relief outing, and that’s a very good sign for this bullpen.
Also, we need to again give credit where it’s due. Though Tyler Mahle was making just his fifth big-league start, he put up big numbers in the minor leagues, including throwing two no-hitters, one a perfect game. He showed that form in keeping Cubs hitters completely off balance all afternoon. It can’t have helped that it was so cold in Cincinnati, but both teams had to deal with the weather, so that’s certainly not an excuse, nor should it be. Give Mahle a lot of credit. He looks like a keeper.
The Cubs are 2-3, and are even-up in run differential, 19 scored, 19 allowed. Think of it this way: The Dodgers outscored the Giants 14-2 in their four-game opening series, and yet won just two of the four games.
Because baseball. This Cubs team is too good to play this way for too long. It’ll turn around. Of that, I am certain.
Also, I will remind the Cubs that though the jersey they wear is irrelevant to how they play, they are 2-0 wearing road grays, 0-3 wearing the blue alts. Perhaps they should wear the grays the rest of this road trip?
Thanks to whoever pointed me to the Bluetooth setting in my car; I was, in fact, able to stream Pat & Ron’s audio from the Score onto my car speakers, and even though I was thus at the mercy of Sprint’s LTE coverage, it worked for the time between game start and my arrival at my hotel here in Tulsa.
Tuesday, the Cubs are scheduled to play the Reds again at 5:40 p.m. CT. Jon Lester is the Cubs’ scheduled starter and Cody Ross will get the call for the Reds. TV coverage will be on WGN.
Based on this weather forecast, though, I am pretty sure this game will not be played Tuesday:
Showers and thunderstorms before 4pm, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly after 4pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 72. Breezy, with a southwest wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Showers and thunderstorms before 2am, then a slight chance of showers between 2am and 3am. Low around 38. West wind around 18 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Yuck. They should just call the thing off now, or first thing Tuesday morning.
And even though both teams are off Wednesday, I cannot imagine the Cubs agreeing to play that day. They are scheduled to fly back to Chicago late Tuesday before taking a bus to Milwaukee Thursday morning to begin that four-game series Thursday night. I would guess the Cubs players and coaches will want to spend Wednesday getting organized in their in-season homes, otherwise they won’t be able to do that until next week.
The teams have a common off day May 21, which is the day after the next scheduled Cubs/Reds series at GABP. I’d guess they’d make up a postponement that day, or if the teams don’t want to give up their off day, a split doubleheader the preceding weekend.
Stay tuned, if Tuesday’s game is called for any reason at any time, we’ll have all the info here.
And yes, the Cubs will score again. Soon, and lots of runs. Count on it.